NOTTINGHAM – Durham pacemen Mark Wood and Ben Stokes set the seal on a crushing innings and 78-run victory over Australia in the fourth Test at Trent Bridge on Saturday as England regained the Ashes in style. Australia started the day on 241 for seven, 90 runs shy of making England bat again.
But they lost their last three wickets in just 40 minutes’ play, with all-rounder Stokes, who’d taken five wickets on Friday, striking again on his way to Test-best figures of six for 36.
Fast bowler Wood ended the match when he had Nathan Lyon playing on as the tail-ender tried to withdraw his bat.
Victory gave Alastair Cook’s men an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the five-match series as, for the second match in a row, they defeated arch-rivals Australia inside three days following their eight-wicket win in the third Test at Edgbaston last week.
It was also the first time this year that England, whitewashed 5-0 in Australia in 2013/14, had won back-to-back Tests.
This win was particularly impressive as England were without James Anderson after their all-time leading wicket-taker suffered a side injury at Edgbaston.
Australia were in trouble right from the start of this match as they collapsed to 60 all out in 111 balls — the shortest completed first innings in Test history — on Thursday’s first day.
Fast-medium bowler Stuart Broad, who took two wickets in the first over of the match, including his 300th at this level, finished with a Test-best return of eight for 15.
England in reply made 391 for nine declared, Joe Root top-scoring with 130, on Friday.
Before play started on Saturday, there were reports in the Australian media that Australia captain Michael Clarke was set to announce his retirement after a poor series so far with the bat.
Australia resumed with Adam Voges 48 not out and Mitchell Starc unbeaten on nought.
At that stage, pace bowling all-rounder Stokes had taken five for 35.
That became six for 35 in 18 when tailender Starc fell for a duck, edging Stokes to Ian Bell at second slip to leave Australia 242 for eight.
It also meant England had become the first team to have four different bowlers take six wickets in four consecutive innings after Anderson and Steven Finn did it at Edgbaston, with Broad and Stokes following suit in Nottingham.
This was the second five-wicket haul in Stokes’s 15-Test career after his six for 99 against Australia at Sydney in January last year.
Australia were soon 243 for nine when Wood yorked Josh Hazlewood for another duck.
Voges, who played at Trent Bridge for Nottinghamshire, then completed a 111-ball fifty, including seven fours — his highest score of a mediocre series. The fifth Test will begin at The Oval on August 20.